Wednesday, December 31, 2008

home, and a few more words

We are home safe and sound. Overall we had decent travel. The wind was awful from Minnesota to Kansas City, but we had clear skies for the long drive today through Missouri and Arkansas. The boys did okay too. Ayden is awesome in the car. Balin did better today, but has a horrible diaper rash. We had great luck going up and comming back with hotels. We had enough reward points for a room on the way up and my dad had enough for us a room on the way back at a beautiful Hampton Inn.

Minnesota was both wonderful and horrible at the same time. How difficult to say goodbye to someone you arent prepared to say goodbye to. The schock and grief comes in waves. Moments will surprise you and then the laughter too is so much sweeter. We had so much time this trip to just sit and visit with people we rarely see. I was able to put faces to names of lifelong important people in Lucas's life. We met our nephew Aston who is amazing and sweet and has the best cheeks for an auntie to pinch, ever!

The funeral was moving to say the least. Jim was a longtime emmber of the Patriot Guard Riders. I'll write a post later explaining them. But we drove up to a funeral home SURROUNDED by men and women, many of whom served in the military or are children of heros, standing guard over the services in a flag line. So like 40? I didnt count, but many many many flags encircling the tnire funeral home. We carried in Jim's leather jacket that bore his PGR patches. It was so moving to see their faces as they recognized what we had and who we were. They loved Jim and we loved their presence. Their website is HERE. Read for yourself the wonderful things they say.

The funeral also had a traditional native american drum. I'll have Lucas post to explain that, but I will say it was the most haunting and physically moving song I have ever heard. Ther funeral was led by a catholic priest. He was sincere and empathetic and had good words to share. Even the funeral home staff seemed moved. There was standing room only. People had to stand in the hallway all the way back to the doors. Even being on the children list didnt ensure us a front seat:-). We sat in the back which was good because I had to escape to a side room with an unrulley Balin.

There will be more tomorrow with pictures.

I am sending out a new years letter when I get us pulled together. I've been planning it and had actually just finished it when we got the news. If you think I may not have your address and you want a letter send it to me at emilymichelle AT gmail !

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

where we are

I need to share some sad news with those non Tilsen readers of this blog. On December 23rd, 2008 we lost Jim Lewis, Lucas's step father to a presumed heart attack. He was snowblowing a sidewalk and colapsed, EMS was unable to revive him. We are currently very sad. We will be traveling tomorrow, Christmas Day to Kansas City and then finish the trip Friday on to St. Paul to be with Lucas's mom Judy and 11 year old brother Dominic. We are not traveling today because of the weather prolems accross the country and we are spreading our trip up into two days to ensure that we arrive safely. My parents have graciously offered us the use of their Tahoe. The memorial service will be on Saturday. To lose a parent is not a grief anyone is prepared for. Please pray for Lucas and the 7 other adult children and step children of Jim's, but especially for Dominic. We were blessed to share a trip this past October with Jim and Judy to celebrate Jim's 61st birthday.(We called it his 16th) We went to a pumpkin patch, ate alligator at a local cajun restraunt, but most importantly just spent time together. Balin and Ayden both adored Papa Jim and Ayden is confused, and sad about what is going on. We hate that Balin will not get to grow up knowing this wonderful loving man with a spitfire attitude. We joked during the trip that Jim and Balin spoke the same language. Balin was entralled the entire time. I'm sure there will be more words later, but for now I'll leave you with my favorite picture from that trip. We are seeking comfort in the normal. Today is Christmas eve and we will go to church and then have dessert. We will open a gift and then read the Christmas story from Luke. Tonight Santa will come and in the morning we will enjoy our children's wonder. We celebrate during this difficult time the Prince of Peace.
May He bring you peace tonight that we pray he will bring us. Merry Christmas,
Lucas and Emily

Friday, December 19, 2008

What a week

This was Balin's big week. On Monday we met with the ENT to talk about Ear Tubes. On WEdnesday morning we had them done! This was our first surgery with Balin, but it was done by the same Doctor who took out Ayden's rock from his ear so we were fairly comfortable! Balin did awesome. He woke up fighting the nurses, came home for a three hour nap and was perfect. He even seemed to feel better than he had earlier. We've heard lots of words that were never clear before! The surgery was at 7:00 a.m. So that means a 6:00 a.m. check in time! We were all pretty tired, but adrenalin and worry about TODAY kept us going. This morning he had his hernias repaired. Turns out that he had TWO inguinial hernias and several hydroceles (the hydroceles are basically fluid filled sacks that develop... they feel like water balloons. The Doctor is a little odd, but clearly good at his job! He put us very much at ease this morning! Again, Balin did stellar! When we got to recovery he was being held and cuddled by a very sweet nurse. He was not complaining, just resting well in her arms. When he saw us he reached and voila, discovered his IV. Which he immediately tried to remove. My stomach can't handle that. I HATE IVs and I've had enough in my life to not need a reminder to know what they feel like when they get pulled. So AHHH. I handed him to his daddy and let the nurse remove it. He then immediately calmed down and fell asleep in his daddy's arms. We got him to drink some juice asap and they let us take him home! He has been very sleepy and not comfortable. He obviously is in pain so we are not being hesitant to give him his tylenol 3! I've made him a comfy spot in the living room with pillows and blankets and he's been sleeping off and on and snacking on some crackers and juice. Thanks to everyone for your prayers and food and encouragement as we've gotten through this week! Hopefully this next week will be a week of healing and rest as we celebrate the coming of our King and the wonders of our Lord! Happy Hannukah and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our Christmas Trip, and the weeks ahead

This past weekend we went to Palestine Texas for a little get-a-way. The ultimate goal was to ride the Polar Express, which we bought tickets for a month ago. When we bought our tickets we were surprised that the earlier train rides were allready sold out, but once we rode it we know why. It was worth EVERY penny. Both boys loved it and I have to admit,standing in the depot and watching the train come in all lit up with lights and steaming was pretty exciting... like I wanted to jump up and down and scream with the kiddos exciting. That was 8:15 pm though, our day started much earlier. about 12:00 we left home and got starbucks. The drive was mapquested at 2 hours and 50 minutes, but we got there in just a little over two. The drive was a bit sentimental for me. I'm really missing my grandmother lately and knowing that I was driving closer and closer to where she and my grandfather both grew up made me think of her and Christmas we spent with her. I miss her cherry divinity. I miss her lace and ribbon filled dresser drawers. I miss her quilts. I miss her.

Once we arrived in Palestine we found Old Town and the shopps:-). Lots of little boutiques and antique stores. We bouth Balin his first pair of See Kai Run shows because they were really cheap! Outside the shops is a park set up like an old texas town with clapboard stores. It was nice to just let the boys run around and play. Sometime around 5 we got hungry and found a yummy mexican restraunt and then decided we did not want to drive home late at night so we also found a hotel. A "Quality" Inn and Suites... not so quality, but warm and dry. They were out of cribs so I slept with Ayden and Lucas wit the baby. Balin only fell off the bed once. (eeek)

As for the Polar Express. Again, wonderful! Ayden has ridden it before with his Dad. I was afraid Balin wouldn't really get into it, but he really did!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday happenings

I have not been posting much because w have been so stinkin busy! It's a good busy though for the most part. We've been decorating for Christmas and hosting and attending play dates. Last week I hosted a gingerbread craft day. I spent all day Wednesday building gingerbread houses and on Thursday 11 friends and their children joined us to decorate them! (Ayden will be making his house this weekend). We had so much fun filling up this apartment with literally as many bodies as we could fit!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

if only his tubes were in the right places...

Poor Balin. He has surgery scheduled on Dcember 19th for a communicating Hydrocele, which is basicaly a hernia or opening that allows water from his abdomen to drain into places it is not supposed to. By the end of the day the poor guy has what looks like a small water balloon in his diaper. It drains back when he lies down at night. Apparently this is a common issue with little boys. something like 1/4 of all males are born with an opening that will spontaneously close within the first year or so. Balin's did not so we have to have it surgically repaired. Yesterday Lucas took him in to get his ears checked. He had an ear infection the week before Thanksgiving so we were following up on that. Now he has a Double ear infection. This poor guy has struggled with these since he was two weeks old. FINALLY our Dr. (who we love) told us to make the appointment with the Ear Nose and Throat Dr. (This is who removed Ayden's rock from his ear, arranged for an "emergency surgical procedure" gathered nurses and anasthesia people and then only charged us for the office visit.. so therefore who we also LOVE.) So it looks like he will also be having tubes put in, a second "surgical" procedure. Not Fair. Our tiny little guy who still comes in around the 50 percentage line and below on height and weight has to spend so much time in the hospital. Please pray for all of this as we prepare for Christmas as well.

Friday, November 7, 2008

First haircut

During bathtime a couple of weeks ago my husband made a noted observation. Our son's hair was past his shoulders when wet. So what? Apparently this bothered the aforementioned husband so Balin's first hair cut was ordered.

Balin felt as I did about the experience. I saved an entire baggie of his sweet little curls.

Its a tough call to trade baby sweetness for big boy handsomeness.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I've been tagged

Blame it all on Lizzie

1. I have a very different self online than I do in person. Online I am easy to talk to and willing to tell you anything. In person I might just not speak at all.

2. I love curry. Spicy spicy yellow American pre mixed curry. On just about anything.

3. I met my husband on a trip to Italy with choir. (I know, you know that already). Even though I was in the midst of a tragic breakup I told my roommate on the trip that I would marry Lucas. Who was the roommate of the person I was attempting to break up with.

4. I told off my English teacher in my 10thgrade paper because she gave such pointed preference to the sports oriented students. I believe it started with "In Mrs. BLahs class I learned that I should have been an athlete so I wouldnt have to read novels in my 10th grade English class."

5. My favorite job was being a bookseller at Barnes and Noble. It was only for a summer. During those three months I fell in love with a four year old boy named Adam who was a "regular." He read lift the flap books and I still can't read them without thinking of him and his way too adorable British accent.

6. I would be a perpetual student if I did not have to turn in papers or pay for classes. I miss listening to professors, especially those with tenure, openly share their passions. I learned so much from my profs who just shared instead of filling syllabi with nonsense. Like my 20th century lit prof who went on for more than 20 minutes about Madeleines and Proust- Or my Shakespeare prof who taught me the meaning of the word "tragedy" the week of 911- or my African history instructor whos classes I ONLY attended to listen to him speak.

7. I hate email frwds and chain letters. This is nearly the same thing. I feel dirty.

Okay, I tag Becky,and Brie

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pumkin light night

Southerners enjoy festivities. Any chance to party is simply opportunity. Today at school we are having "Pumpkin light night" all the families bring a carved lit pumpkin from home and the classes all doanother display of sorts of a theme surrounding their pumpkins. We are doing a spaghetti dinner for Aydens class. Some of the moms painted big pumpkins to look like meatballs, or peppers ect. I filled a giant vase with white sparkly pumpkins to look like a drink. Should be fun. It is finally cold this morning. Somewhere in the 30's. There was a layer of thick frost on the windows. I'm sure I'll be in shorts by dinner.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Adoption tutus on Etsy

I finally got my ladybug tutus on Etsy! Come on over and help raise money for adoptive families and gets yourself the cutests tutus around! Visit me at Meme Simply's Shop on Etsy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


It is amazing what your children will tell you if only you listen. Ayden has been having a REALLY hard time lately. School has been tough, I've been keeping kids and he has been throwing tantrums. Last night, during his bedtime tantrum, he blurted out that the babies get their way when they throw fits. Ah ha. So obvious and yet in my self pity of having to actually parent I missed the simple fact that he is simply mimcking the smaller kids behavior. AND I keep two adorable, but fussy kids. The baby we keep is precious, but he does cry easily. Balin is extremely demanding. LOUD and demanding. The two year old also is very vocal about what she wants and since she typically goes home in the afternoons soon after Ayden gets there I tend to give in to her just to keep the peace. Why am I surprised that Ayden has reverted to kicking and screaming in the floor when he doesn't get his way?? This morning he came into the work room where I have a tutu set up ready to be photographed later. He said "This is your job, you make tutus! You don't have to babysit." My poor baby. How do you explain to a five year old that you have to babysit or do any job? I guess finally knowing exactly what it is that is bothering him is a good place to start.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A farmers market menu

Sunday: Roast Chicken (whole) with yams carrots and onions
Monday: Chili (small group coming over... farmers market gets an out)
Tuesday: Ratatooee (A tilsen version of the original... hence the spelling)featuring our eggplant
Wednesday: butternut squash soup (By the way for you doubters. MOST canned "pumpkin" is actually a variety of butternut squash. And you would never know.)
Thursday: Turkey tenderloin with mashed sweet potatoes
Friday: chicken on a stick with rice and fried okra
Saturday: Colorado fried chicken featuring the cranberry granola

Yum. Yummy.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Farmers Market

This morning we enjoyed the local fall farmers market. Ayden really resisted, but once we got there he LOVED it. There was live music and lots of fun booths. We bought natural no sugar jam, cranberry granola, eggplant, okra(Aydens request)sweet potatoes which left red southern clay dirt all over my counter (glad to know they're fresh) and a BEAUTIFUL butternut squash. We are looking forward to eating all this yummy goodness, which by the way cost me less than 20$! I plan on taking full advantage of this over the next few weekends while we can!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Life moves on

9 years ago I graduated from high school and left Texas for Colorado. I left behind seven years of friendship, roots in a great church, big hair, makeup, fifteen pounds, changing clothes for dinner. I gained roomates, freedom, academics, snow, aspen leaves in fall, a gym membership, "mountaintop" church experiences EVERY WEEK and, eventually, a baby boy. 5 and a half years ago when he was born I had no idea where I would go or what would happen. During that last year, pregnant and scared the first person I turned to, the first person I literally took the pregnancy test to was Dawn, who was also my first college roomate and nothing short of a gift from God. She was constant encouragement and love. Sweet, innocent, annoyingly neat she challenged me to be a better me. A more open, more organized, more God following me. She was there for the birth of Ayden and the first two tiny weeks of crying and late nights. Yesterday, 9 years after we first met she gave birth to her second little boy. Baby Jayden joined his brother Ashton about six weeks early. He is doing great and I couldnt be happier for my sweet friend whom I miss so very very much. Thank you for being a part of my story Dawn. Thank you for being a part of Ayden's. I know physically I cant be there for your family, but my prayers are before the throne for you today. Someday we will share in it all again! Together!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


The past few weeks have been so crazy! We were in Houston for my dads 60th, and then this past weekend my mother in law, father in law and nephew came to visit for the weekend! We started going to a small group with our church and I am keeping one full time baby and another part time two and a half year old! I thought fall was supposed to be boring! Not around here. Here are a few pictures of recent happenings!

Balin and his buddy "J" at a local church pumpkin patch
My little pumpkins in a real pumpkin patch... I'll take 'em right off the vine


Ayden and his sweet cousin Ethan

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Only a pebble...or... a lesson in peer pressure

At 11:00 a.m. I got a call from Aydens school telling me that my child had a pebble stuck in his ear. Huh? Did you read that right? Yup. A Pebble. In. His. Ear. How did he get the pebble in his ear? Apparently, according to my child who tends to make up whoppers... his friends were "all doing it." They were putting pebbles in their ears, then shaking their heads to send the pebbles flying. Another version of the story involves "spinning the pebbles" in their ears. I've never played that game. Most of the children avoided lodging pebbles in their ear drums. Not my child. Nope, no flight of the pebble around here, no winning of the pebble spinning, just a downward spiral of pebble stuckness into the massive amount of NASTY goo already existing in his ears. (Because I am overly cautious about instruments in ears and obey the warnings NOT to place objects into them... I obviously did not share this lesson with my child.) At the doctors office we were met with concern and humor and complications. The nurse who typically is not our friend with Balin (she scares him) had Ayden giggling and holding his nose and blowing trying to get the pebble out. The doctor was calm and concerned, but was not only unable to remove the pebble, he allowed the pebble to slip even further away into the ear canal. He was able to page a friend and we now have an appointment with an ENT in the morning who will attempt the same procedure and is prepared to take Ayden to the ER to do an emergency outpatient procedure involving putting my child to sleep. All because of a simple little pebble and peer pressure. Unbelievable.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I've made the change

Its official. I've switched entirely to cloth diapers! Yes. I am crazy. I'm actually really excited about it. I'm using Bumgenius 3.0 pocket diapers. They are one size fits all (adjustable) and you put a liner on the inside of a pocket. They have a waterproof outerlayer that keeps messes inside without having to use a separate cover. I did not even know these existed until recently! We are loving the bright colors and super soft inside. My only concerns are that I'm afraid they wont fit until he is potty trained. Also, he has a bit of a diaper rash, but that may be because I only had 6 and wasnt changing him fast enough. I need to break my disposable habits! I don't have to "stretch" the box anymore so I can get used to changing him quicker. I recieved my second order so now I have 13 diapers, enough for two days. They fit great now and we havent had too many problems with leaking. I don't even really mind the washing of dirty ones. Not my favorite experience, but considering that I won't have to buy disposables anymore its well worth the trouble! I'm using a plastic painters bucket with a snap tight lid as my diaper pail, and the "dry pail" method of storage. I can not use normal detergent either. Baby detergents are too weak and I can not use anything with additives or they loose their absorbency. I've started with Ecos brand free and clear. I may try All free and clear if I can find it. Another cool thing... the company that sells the diapers has a missionary grant program!! TOO COOL. They donate diapers to missionaries and even have a list of people they have sponsored. It was really easy to add a few dollars onto my order. I hope more people will find out about that program! What a specific need and awesome way to fill it!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mysterious Hot water and community ham

My parents HAVE power! Conroe school are canceled all week. My dad did have a friend come from out of state I believe who brought them a generator that is big enough to power a light and their fridge and occasionally the computer! They do have phones back and computer access when the generator is on! Somehow they have hot water, even though their water heater is electric... not sure how that happened and neither do they. Also the community is really pulling together.. helping eachother pull down trees and clean up the giant mess! Someone even offered up a now properly thawed Harry and David ham to share with everyone:-). It sounds like things are going well, all things conidered. Ayden had his second week of gymnastics and is loving it! He got to try the rings this week and the trampoline and last night told me his bum was sore:-).

Sunday, September 14, 2008


"Mom. mom mom. mommommomomomomomomomomomomomomomomomom MOM!." usually accompanied with the pulling of pants legs or shirt tails. Does not matter who you actually are... this is how Balin will address you. It was cute. The first 30 times.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

House saved by Fort Box, aka the swingset in the backyard

update:11 :30

Spoke to my parents around 11. So far the swingset was hit by a tree, but the house is alright. They are doing okay, but I am still having trouble getting through on the phone to them. At about 10:30 we were under a tornado warning. Got the boys and dog into the bathroom with supplies and then pretended it was a fun exciting game and there was nothing to worry about. Shaking I sang songs and tried to get a good station on the radio. Lucas finally got home during that time and we hung out which is when my parents called. The warning is over, but the watch is on until 7:00 tonight. A may get extra junk food today. I will be eating with him.

How long can you hold your breath?

My parents are currently in the middle of a gigantic hurricane. You might have heard something about it. Ike. They chose to stay in Conroe and now I cant get hold of them. I missed a call from my dad, but I am assuming they are reserving their cell phone power because their power must be out. They are not answering their home phone. I am worried. Lucas was called out to a job last night around 8:30. At about 10:00 he called me and said he would be returning home soon. At 11:30 he called and said he was on a new job... In southeast Bossier. Tornadoes have been reported in Alexandria, which is south of Shreveport/Bossier. Please pray for the safety of ALL of my family as we wait this out. Pray for my parents and little sister and my husband and his crew. I was reading Judges 5 this morning and a verse stuck out. It was the cry of the Israelites as they went into battle. "March on my soul with Courage." Our God is not a god of fear. Even in the old testament where God could often be seen as a conqueror or god of war, the reality is that he is a God of comfort. A God of protection. May his hand be on this storm and may his arms be around all who are in it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

my day.

Woke up with a nightmare. Realized I was twenty minutes into my alarm clock's snooze function. Drag a VERY cranky A out of bed. Picture day. Also parent teacher conference day. Struggle to keep A on track getting to school because he kept complaining about a stomach ache. Drag complaining A and two fussy one year olds into the school and have a five minute conference with a teacher who basically only tells me she doesn't know how to make my child listen. I refrain from telling her that's her job to figure it out and instead graciously offer some discipline suggestions.. like having a discipline system with consequences and frequent communication with us, his parents. (I know, novel idea apparently). I then watch my child slide to floor during the Pledge of Allegiance whereas the night before at back to school night he had yelled at the entire room to "BE QUIET WE'RE PLEDGING!. Realize something must be wrong and decide to wait for pictures to be over before deciding on A's attendance. A now near tears A reluctantly takes picture and returns home with a slight smirk. He spends the first ten minutes in the restroom which I hope will fix the problem. He then goes and lays down. I get the call that my two year old will be arriving soon. Hear crying from bedroom. find A with a perfectly arranged towel next to his bed puking. Thanks for being considerate with the towel kiddo. Run to find phone number of 2 year olds mother only to get the call that she has arrived. Make rash, possibly wrong decision to just go about our day as usual rather than make the mother of two tiny preemie twins drag a crying toddler all the way back across town.I then Baby gate off the back bedrooms and start disinfecting toys. ALL THIS while trying to get hold of my parents in Houston. HOPING to hear that they are on their way out of danger and for a nice visit, but no. They would rather face mother nature's wrath than visit a puking five year old and house full of toddlers. Not sure I don't blame them.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

making fun of Gustav

Hurricane Gustav may not have had that much of a direct impact on us, but we made the most out of the weather! Here is A enjoying the river of drainage. Yes I made him shower after, and no there was no lightning.

a video from this past summer

I found this while loading a video from a couple of weeks ago. when you have five minutes, enjoy! It's the Tilsen/Barna family at its cutest.

Dear Mr. Obama

and on a personal note. Dear Mr. Obama... would you please stop spamming me?? I'm not sure who sold you my email... but I certainly did not.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Big boy running

Today the weather was finally clear. Nice and cool outside, we opened the windows and then went out for some fun. B has discovered running. He does not care where he goes as long as he gets there fast!

My baby boy

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gustav Update

Evacuees are returning to the south, but to no power! The news this morning says that there are 1.4 million people without electricity. The American Red Cross and local shelters are still in immediate need of baby food/diapers, adult diapers, and personal items like deodorant and shampoo! there are still flodding rains falling in central LA, but they have moved on from here, although we still have 100 percent cloud cover.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Rain rain go away/Tiniest Gustav refugee

So this is what Gustav looks like to the Ark-La-Tex. We are under tornado warnings as the eye of the storm passes and heads west. Apparently the eye is close to Shreveport right now. Nothing too exciting. The shelters are functioning well according to the news, but are in need of supplies like toiletries. People will begin heading back to NOLA as soon as possible, but that won't be today. Lucas is out on a job, but said other than being soaking wet things are going well. This is his first time being completely cut loose and on his own! Again, I am so proud of him!

Monday, September 1, 2008

"outer bands"

Gustav/Monday morning

As Gustav is making landfall on the coast we are sitting in 80 degree, blue sky weather! They are predicting floods to match and surpass what happened in May, but we live on the high side of town, fairly far from the river so we probably will be okay. The shelters are all full here in town and every hotel room is taken! Pray for the people of this state! Many people are having emotional difficulties simply because of Katrina memories. People are literaly reliving their worst nightmare! The kids especially need prayer! The highschoolers at our church were all praying together on sunday at the alter. At least 20 kids were up there arm in arm. Pray for peace and calm! Pray for the storm to weaken quickly!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav update

As of 5:00 central time, the weather station has the storm at a cat. 3 storm moving at 20 miles per hour. I guess the speed of the storm is a good thing because it will move faster over land and not cause as much flooding! The news reports have tropical force winds making landfall as soon as midnight and the outer bands of the storm hitting here soon! (It is al Rain is forcast from this evening until Friday when hopefully Gustav will have had his fun and gone on home! Shreveport is a major evacuee center with shelters housing thousands of people AND animals. Everything seems fairly calm, though there is quite a buzz of anticipation. We are currently under a flash flood and wind watch with a tropical weather advisory..whatever that means. In my world that means the red box movies will be going back a few days late and we might run out of popcorn! Also the paint supplies and construction paper are at the ready and the wii batteries are charged. (along with the real neccesities like a full tank of gas and bottled water). Yes. I allow my five year old to play video games. Yes. I understand that I always vowed I would never do that. No. I don't really care right now. I might just be playing along with him by the time we are going stir crazy on Thursday!

Saturday, August 30, 2008


We are surprised by how affected we already are by this storm! We found out late this afternoon that schools are closed through Wednesday because of the potential for bad weather but mainly so our school buses can be sent to New Orleans! We went to the grocery store and the Albertsons gas pumps were covered up with ply wood. The bread shelves and water shelves were emptying fast. The only thing you hear anyone talking about is how ready the state seems to be this time and how they are not taking any chances. Several friends are housing evacuees. As we enter Sunday we ask for prayers for our state. Pray for our leadership, that they communicate and make smart decisions. Pray for the people of the state to make smart choices and not take unnecessary risks. Tomorrow morning the contraflow efforts on I-49 begin, closing any southward traffic and allowing more room for people to get out. I've never seen anything like this.

Friday, August 29, 2008

So much...

So much has happened in the past few days that I want to blog about, but have not had the time. Topics to come back to: A's first full week of school, my first tutu sale, my future tutu sale ideas, B's brilliance (b/c we now believe he is a true Einstein.. really, no really, he is) and to top it all off, Lucas' promotion! Lets start with that one and I'll come back to the others as time allows.

Monday Lucas finished all requirements to complete his engineer training program! He is now officially a Field tech representative for a great company! We are sooo proud of all the hard work he has done. He has spent countless nights cold/hot/rained on/snowed on, muddy, tired, sleeping in folding chairs spending days away from home to learn the job. All without actually getting to do what he in turn was hired to do. All the pre-job learning was tough, but now he is getting a shot at the real stuff. I am so proud of him and grateful that he took this job and is now providing us with so much! I am able to stay at home with my boys, my lifelong career ambition :-). I am taking care of a couple of kids here at home to help with the financial gap, but Lucas is carrying the bulk of that for us! Today he was given his truck! Yay! We can get rid of one of our cars and all the costs associated with it. (YAY).

I sold two tutus to a friend and know that what I make are beautiful. I opened an etsy site, but don't think thats going to be true niche for selling these. Etsy seems a bit snooty. I make rustic hand tied tutus that are wonderful for imaginary play. There are women on there selling tutus they think are more like fashion icons. I really just want to make fun, fluffy confections. I walked into chik-fil-a carrying a couple of them and was pounced! So I KNOW I can sell them, I've just got to find a better way. I'm looking for craft sales at Christmas. Any friends or family you come across let them know!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I'm having so much fun making Tutus I've decided to open a shop on Etsy! Come on over and check it out! It is still a work in progress!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Pray for Lucas!

Many of you know that for the last seven months Lucas has been completing an extensive training program for the company he works for. Basically they take him from knowing nothing about the industry and expose him to every job in the field. He has taken classes in Houston and spent the remainder of his time finishing a VERY long checklist of other tasks. Usually he goes with a crew into the field and shadows different jobs. To learn he has to DO. We are soooo close to being done! YAY. He passed his final class and only has about 9 more jobs to attend!. To go with a crew there has to BE a crew and there has to BE a job. Please pray that these final tasks come up easily so that he can hop from one job to the next and get finished! When he is finished he will officially be employed and not a student:-). He will get a job title and promotion, along with some other perks that will really help.. such as a work vehicle and cell phone! Lucas has sacrificed so much to complete this job (including missing his sisters wedding) and there is a lot of pressure on him from his bosses to get finished quickly! Thanks for your prayers for his stamina and luck!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Eduoard Hits Houston

Eduoard hits Houston as a Tropical Storm. Lucas was in Houston finishing up his level one classes, Sand Control. Waking up to discovery work is cancelled do to winds and rain. This is Lucas' first Houston Hurricane threat. Lucas made it to his IN-LAWs for dry land and a safe place to stay. The hotel room would be safe, but clusterphobia would have kicked in around High NOON. So Lucas spent August 5, 2008 undercover in Conroe, Texas avoiding Eduoard. All is well, by the time the storm hit Montgomery County there was nothing but rain. No sign of power outage in the city, no signs of branches or trees down.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Moody Gardens

We went to Moody Gardens on Galveston Island this weekend and had a GREAT time! If you havent been there it is a botanical center with pyramid shaped exhibit halls. One hold museum type programing. We saw a Titanic exhibit that was beautiful and sad. It had relics pulled from the ocean floor like pottery and even a ladies powder compact still filled with powder! They also told the stories of people who both survived and were killed. There is a rainforest pyramid where most of the pictures were taken and an aquarium that was featuring sharks. And there was an imax. We saw a 3d sea monsters and ayden was terrified. B was squirmmy so Lucas escaped with him. I stayed because A loved the movie but couldnt let go of my arm. They also have a big resort style pool with a waterfall and lagoon. There is white sand and beach chairs and a pool side bar. The boys swam for a long time! Then we headed back to the hotel with Lucas where he is staying for two weeks. It was nice to feel like we were on vacation even if it was only for a couple of days! A loves sleeping in hotels and much to my surprise even B was a great sleeper!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I made a tutu

We were invited to a birthday party for a 2 year old this weekend. What better opportunity to attempt making a tutu??!?? I've wanted to for a while, but this gave me a good reason, so here she is. Happy Birthday Madeline!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Blood diamonds/Blood electronics??

Playstation 2 component incites African war
Console war reaches past the couch and into the Congo, claims report.
By Ben Silverman

Has the video game industry dug up its very own blood diamond?

According to a report by activist site Toward Freedom, for the past decade the search for a rare metal necessary in the manufacturing of Sony's Playstation 2 game console has fueled a brutal conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At the center of the conflict is the unrefined metallic ore, coltan. After processing, coltan turns into a powder called tantalum, which is used extensively in a wealth of western electronic devices including cell phones, computers and, of course, game consoles.

Allegedly, the demand for coltan prompted Rwandan military groups and western mining companies to plunder hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the rare metal, often by forcing prisoners-of-war and even children to work in the country's coltan mines.

"Kids in Congo were being sent down mines to die so that kids in Europe and America could kill imaginary aliens in their living rooms," said Ex-British Parliament Member Oona King.

So where's the connection to Sony? According to Toward Freedom, during the 2000 launch of the PS2, the electronics giant was having trouble meeting consumer demand. To pump out more units, Sony required a significant increase in the production of electric capacitors, which are primarily made with tantalum. This helped drive the world price of the powder from $49/pound to a whopping $275/pound, resulting in the frenzied scouring of the Congolese hills known for being ripe with coltan.

Sony has since sworn off using tantalum acquired from the Congo, claiming that current builds of the PS2, PSP and PS3 consoles are sourced from a variety of mines in several different countries.

But according to researcher David Barouski, they're hardly off the hook.

"SONY's PlayStation 2 launch...was a big part of the huge increase in demand for coltan that began in early 1999," he explained. "SONY and other companies like it, have the benefit of plausible deniability, because the coltan ore trades hands so many times from when it is mined to when SONY gets a processed product, that a company often has no idea where the original coltan ore came from, and frankly don't care to know. But statistical analysis shows it to be nearly inconceivable that SONY made all its PlayStations without using Congolese coltan."

Currently, the Playstation 2 is the best-selling video game console of all-time, having sold through over 140 million units.

This report breaks my heart. I hope more attention is brought to it and other sources for this material are quickly found or used. West Africa has a history of this specific kind of violence. Money equals power: American desires equals money. Must we keep stripping these countries of materials that we deem so important for frivality?? Children are being killed so that our children can rot in front of the tv and we can have instant communication. Do people realize that much of Africa doesnt even have telephone access? or even electricity???? We as a country are in a panic because we've spent too much on too big houses and vehicles so big that they could be used to fight a war and now we cant pay our bills. We should have learned our lessons when the truth about gold and Diamonds came out.. but now seriously.... video game consoles causing bloodshed. In REAL life. This is not an issue of "now we need to boycot sony." What needs to happen is the American concience needs a serious time out. At what cost should our comfort come? Thousands of people are losing their homes, but should they ever have been able to buy one in the first place? And what if they had purchased something more sensible? How many of us, including myself, have giant credit card debts that only grow? For what? Junk that ends up getting thrown away? Our need for "stuff" is growing. We need a reality check soon... before its too late.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Welcome baby Aston!

Yesterday at 5:11 pm Lucas's sister Katherine gave birth to her second baby boy! Baby Aston James Jones was 8lbs,15 oz and beautiful, or so we have heard:-). Congratualations Katy we love you and we cant wait to meet him! (and super giant appologies if any of this info is wrong or if I misspelled his name!)

Here is a picture of big brother Larkin Todd taken a couple of years ago! Im sure this baby will be just as gorgeous!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Birthday Extravagnaza

Today we celebrated B's very first birthday. We met with friends at the Lousiana Boardwalk for Carousel rides and and cajun carousel themed cupcakes. Then it was off to the pop jet fountain for some cold and wet refreshment! Here are a few of our favorite pictures of the day (so far).